A Lodi councilman has been arrested on charges of voter fraud during the 2020 election, according to the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office.
Shakir Khan, who has represented the city’s District 4 since taking office in November 2020, was arrested on suspicion of a variety of offenses, including causing/procuring/allowing false voter registration of self or another person, submission of fraudulent candidacy petition, aiding/abetting the commission of fraud at any election, and the subscription of fictitious names to nomination petitions.
Khan is also accused of false nomination/declaration of candidacy, fraudulently casting votes, and procuring/assisting/counseling/advising another not qualified to vote.
“Our investigation uncovered that councilman Shakir Khan has attempted to undermine, manipulate, and violate one of our most fundamental rights here in our county … and that is the right to free and fair elections.”Sheriff Patrick Withrow
The Sheriff’s Office said Thursday they were able to make the arrest because of Khan’s current ongoing investigation and because of some county residents who were concerned about the election process.
In 2021, Khan and his brother, Zakir Khan, were arrested and arraigned on more than 50 counts related to illegal gambling, money laundering, unemployment claim fraud and tax evasion.
“Our investigation uncovered that councilman Shakir Khan has attempted to undermine, manipulate, and violate one of our most fundamental rights here in our county … and that is the right to free and fair elections,” said Sheriff Patrick Withrow, who added that it appeared the councilman targeted members of his own Pakistani community.
Investigation began in 2019
The San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office said the investigation that led them to Khan began in 2019, when they started to see a spike in criminal activity on the Waterloo corridor in east Stockton.
A series of illegal internet gambling locations were found, including the American Smokers Club that was owned by Shakir Khan.
The San Joaquin County District Attorney’s Office on Wednesday said in a news release that both brothers were ordered to stand trial on the fraud charges and will return to court on Tuesday for further arraignment.
Sheriff’s officials allege that during a 2020 search warrant of Khan’s home, they located 41 mail-in ballots and after further investigating they located about 70 names that were registered to Khan’s home, his email or phone number.
Allegedly, Khan had registered those 70 people to vote.
Some further allegations against Khan include finding him in possession of more ballots that were not filled out but weren’t for him, pressuring voters to vote for him, taking advantage that many people didn’t know the process of voting, and filling out ballots on his own then having people sign them.
Sheriff’s officials believe Khan won his most recent election by 282 votes.
Anyone who believes they have been victimized by Khan or has concerns about the case can contact the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office at 209-468-4400.
Victoria Franco is a reporter based in Stockton covering San Joaquin County for Bay City News Foundation and its nonprofit news site Local News Matters. She is a Report for America corps member.